Liverpool’s mayor has expressed “disappointment” as some accommodation prices soared to £4,000 a night as fans flocked to snap up hotel rooms for Eurovision.
Steve Rotheram released a statement on Monday after the Merseyside city was made the host the 2023 contest on behalf of this year’s winners Ukraine.
Since Friday’s announcement, he said accommodation guests have reported seeing their bookings for May 2023 cancelled and then re-published at “grossly inflated prices”.
Mr Rotheram said: “Eurovision is supposed to be an occasion where everybody comes together in the name of peace, love and understanding. It’s a multi-coloured and multi-culture spectacular.
“That is why it is so disappointing to see some businesses in our region, who have jumped at the chance to grossly inflate prices – with some even cancelling existing bookings only to re-advertise the same things at many times the previous price.
“I don’t want anybody to be prevented from visiting our great city region because it’s been made financially restrictive.”
Mr Rotheram said he will be speaking to the hospitality sector about the increase in prices and is hoping for a resolution.
Director for Marketing Liverpool, Chris Brown, also said he was “disappointed in the minority of hoteliers and accommodation owners”.
He highlighted their plan to use places around Liverpool, and in Manchester and Cheshire. Mr Brown said they “will announce more plans in the future”.
Some businesses and locals have also been quick to point out that many in “hospitality” are not “taking the mick” in Liverpool during Eurovision.
Tim Johnson was really pleased when Hanover Hotel McCartneys Bar set aside rooms for six Ukrainian friends to watch Eurovision.
He said: “Even if I can’t get them tickets I wanted them to be here to enjoy our city that weekend as it is their party after all.
“I would like to highlight the good deed of this hotel helping me make it possible to bring them over. It is Ukraine’s party and hopefully as many as possible can make it to the city. To make that happen we need affordable options to be open to them.”
Michael Cox, 42, a manager at Hanover Hotel & McCartneys Bar, said their rooms for Eurovision are still lower than what is on the market and claims they sold triple rooms at £200 before they sold out.
“The prices change all the time,” he said. “That is the natural way but I do not believe in taking the mick.”
Over £4,000-a-night on Booking.com and Airbnb has been listed for May 13, when the final is set to take place.
Nicola Leppert, 39, a business development manager at Harrison’s Bar & Aparthotel, said their business has told customers they will not be putting the price of their apartments up in response to Eurovision’s announcement.
“We are a small family business,” she said. “It just goes against everything we believe in.
“It’s quite a community feel and we never want to rip anyone off.”
When asked what she thinks of others raising their prices, she added: “I think it’s disappointing and not what Liverpool is about I think.”
A spokeswoman for Booking.com said: “At Booking.com we understand that there is huge interest and excitement around the Eurovision Song Contest coming to Liverpool in 2023.
“While hotels and other accommodations are in complete control of the availability and prices they list on Booking.com, if a customer does have any issues with a booking then our customer service team is available 24/7 to support.
“This is a great opportunity for properties in Liverpool to showcase their city and be part of ensuring all fans have a positive experience, which starts when they book their accommodation at a great rate.
“We always actively monitor for any fraudulent activity and can take action as needed, including suspending or removing a property from our platform.”
The 11,000-capacity M&S Bank Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront will host the song contest.